Midsommar (2019) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Midsommar (2019) Directed by Ari Aster. With Florence Pugh.

Florence Pugh plays Dani, a young American woman struck by grief following a devastating family tragedy. Out of obligation, her wavering boyfriend invites her to join him and his three buddies on a planned away trip to a remote Swedish summer festival.

Upon arrival we’re immediately invited to feel uncomfortably welcome. Situated in lush green fields is a community of seemingly carefree souls, draped in white gowns singing a repetitive ceremonial chorus. On the surface it looks like a healthy place to shrug off the trappings of modern life. But this is a horror film.

The influence of Kubrick is clear in the framing and slow, sinister crawl of the camera. Much of the imagery feels transplanted from a vivid nightmare as it takes place during daylight hours in wide open spaces, which with the use of unsettling symbolism contributes to the sense of being kept off balance.

As Dani, Florence Pugh gives a good performance – equal to the task when asked to demonstrate guttural levels of despair. The dichotomy of her wrecked emotional state against the at-one-with-nature consciousness of the community is an interesting entry point for the tale to touch off.

Haxan Cloak provide an ominous soundtrack which empowers the imagery to set a troubling descent into the macabre and bizarre.

Under Ari Aster’s masterful direction, the aim is to get under your skin rather than make you jump out of it. By the final act you begin to realise that Midsommar is a film you will not forget in a hurry. Make that ever.

Florence Pugh plays Dani, a young American woman struck by grief following a devastating family tragedy. Out of obligation, her wavering boyfriend invites her to join him and his three buddies on a planned away trip to a remote Swedish summer festival.

Upon arrival we’re immediately invited to feel uncomfortably welcome. Situated in lush green fields is a community of seemingly carefree souls, draped in white gowns singing a repetitive ceremonial chorus. On the surface it looks like a healthy place to shrug off the trappings of modern life. But this is a horror film.

The influence of Kubrick is clear in the framing and slow, sinister crawl of the camera. Much of the imagery feels transplanted from a vivid nightmare as it takes place during daylight hours in wide open spaces, which with the use of unsettling symbolism contributes to the sense of being kept off balance.

As Dani, Florence Pugh gives a good performance – equal to the task when asked to demonstrate guttural levels of despair. The dichotomy of her wrecked emotional state against the at-one-with-nature consciousness of the community is an interesting entry point for the tale to touch off.

Haxan Cloak provide an ominous soundtrack which empowers the imagery to set a troubling descent into the macabre and bizarre.

Under Ari Aster’s masterful direction, the aim is to get under your skin rather than make you jump out of it. By the final act you begin to realise that Midsommar is a film you will not forget in a hurry. Make that ever.

4/5

About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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